Overall, this car lives up to it's reputation; you get what you pay for. The good aspects of this car are: decent fuel economy and clutch (in a 5-speed manual) is easy to engage. However, in this case, the cons significantly out weigh the pros. Performance wise, this car lacks any kind of power. You have to put the gas pedal to the floor just to merge onto the highway. The exterior of the vehicle is weak; it's extremely easy to dent and can be done with a fierce shove with the palm of your hand. As for the interior build, this car is a complete nightmare, believe me.
After owning this car for two years before writing it off in an accident at only 100,000km, I had to replace: the transmission, the starter, the alternator belt, the steering belt, the ENTIRE break system (brake lines went when I slammed on the breaks to avoid an accident), the oxygen sensor, etc. The biggest replacement of all was the engine. At 80,000km the timing belt snapped. At 98,000km I had to replace the timing belt AGAIN. From what I've read about the vehicle, the timing belt is a 100% failure rate after 60,000km. That is just not normal. Take the advice from someone who has had this car in their family for eight years -- get rid of this nightmare now.
I'm tearing down a 2004 Kia Rio with 32000 miles, well cared for, Not Abused, fresh oil change and Fram filter, LOCKED engine, failed timing belt, At first I thought inferior quality belt and poor components, but this is a rugged copy of the Mazda which can run many miles, everything looks great but the belt is hard and not very flexible. Maybe Kia scrimped on this but I really doubt it, seems like a heat problem so I did a closer look. To keep engine noise to an absolute minimum, the hood is heavily insulated as well as a plastic cover plate over the engine, But in addition to that Both fenders and the firewall have a continuous rubber gasket as does most of the front of the hood,
As a result the heat from the exhaust manifold, catolitic converter and the engine head are all captured and held inside unless of course your driving real fast.
The design to keep the engine quiet is destroying components under the hood
Funny the guy that posted the review about the engine 'seizing up' at 81,000 miles. that's normal-you failed to change the timing belt. the timing belt MUST be changed by 65,000 miles on Rio's, or the engine blow. Period. it's a 100% fail rate. Anyway, I live in Phoenix and the air conditioner only works when you're driving. soon as you pause at a light or brake, your air is gone. that said, it's otherwise a perfect car. i love it for its size, so much easier to maneuver i watch macho suv-drivers struggling with their Boats and laugh LOL LMAO
from the outside, its design makes it look very nice. it looks like a more expensive car than it actually is. and thank God, looks nothing like a Hyundai ugly design. drivers armrest is great-only car i know that has this!
passenger in front seat also needs armrest. make it so that when the air conditioning is being used, it doesn't totally KILL the acceleration please. thanks.
this car has 80,000 miles on it. It speeds up very slowly and the revs are really high. also going about 70 the cars rpm are at around 4500. this car has no power. next it gets about 26 miles per gallon, but i do hammer it everytime i speed up because the slow acceleration, i probly could get around 35 if i really tried. also i slid into a curb in the winter under 5 mph and the frame bent. that's weak. also if you use this car in the winter the heat is poor. this is not a very smooth ride at high speeds either, but you get what you pay for!
After 50,000 miles the timing belt blew. Spent two weeks trying to track down a cylinder head under $900. Every Rio in the junk yard was in there for the same reason. Warranty void because I didn't replace the timing belt at 50,000 miles. Don't buy a Kia! Don't buy a Kia!
Timing chain instead of timing belt. Backing plates on the front wheels need improvement.